The nature of work and the skills we need are transforming at tremendous speed. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and smart devices will take over routine jobs that people previously held. Job roles will reflect this, with different skill sets needed and valued.
Society will thrive through the contributions women make – identifying and prioritising the problems to work on, and finding better solutions to energy, transport, food production and the other big challenges we all face.
That’s why the theme for WISE this year is Our Skills, Our Future. It is imperative to get more women into STEM so that as the world around us changes, it changes to benefit all of society.
These are Our Skills, and it’s Our Future. Let’s build it together.
It’s not enough to just talk about this; we need concrete action to make it happen. We call for change on three fronts.
We take a holistic approach to gender balance in STEM, from classroom to boardroom – so sustainable change must address all stages. It’s not just up to education providers, employers or the government to be responsible for building a system which helps more girls and women to realise their potential in STEM – we must all take ownership because we all have a contribution to make.
Calls to Action
- Together we can co-ordinate our outreach programmes to ensure girls are excited and inspired by the possibilities of STEM in study and as a career. This is why we are announcing a STEM Accord collaboration between WISE, ERA Foundation, STEM Learning and the Smallpeice Trust, and this is why we are targeting 200,000 girls with our My Skills My Life programme.
WISE calls on all organisations to join up your outreach programmes, and join us so that your outreach activities contribute to effective, equitable provision reaching young people and their families across the UK.
- Together we can ensure that women have the opportunities to retrain or return to STEM careers at all stages of their careers.
WISE calls on government and employers to enable women at all ages to access life-long learning opportunities to retrain and re-skill in STEM, including providing easy to access routes into work such as taster days, internships, returnships and training.
- Together we can make sustainable change to improve gender balance in science, technology and engineering. Strategic targets show a visible commitment to change. Our industry-led Ten Steps programme helps employers create inclusive cultures that support women in STEM, with programmes led by the board and directors being personally accountable for their diversity and inclusion performance.
WISE calls on all organisations, from the classroom to the boardroom, to set a target for the percentage of girls and women in STEM and to share your data with us to monitor progress towards gender balance.